We provide individual assistance to school cafeterias and other institutional food service operations in Massachusetts.
Project staff will connect you with farmers or vendors who are interested in selling locally grown products to schools Pre-k through 12, colleges, hospitals, or other institutions; help you discern possible delivery or volume issues; offer tips from experienced food service directors for successfully menuing local foods; and provide materials to help you promote local foods in your cafeteria. Apart from workshops and trainings, our services are free of charge.
What is Farm to School?
Farm to school programs connect schools with local farms with the goal of providing healthy and delicious food to students while supporting the local agricultural economy. They also often help other institutional food services offer their clients the same fresh locally grown foods. Many farm to school programs involve a wide range of activities that teach students how food grows, including food and nutrition education, farm visits, and garden-based learning opportunities.
Why Buy Local?
Purchasing locally grown food is a great way to encourage students to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and it also supports local farms. Buying local products in season is often very affordable. Food service directors who have introduced local foods programs often report increased meal participation and decreased wastage.
How to Get Started with Local Foods Purchasing
- Become familiar with what is available and in season in Massachusetts
- Determine if you are able to purchase directly from a farm
- If you cannot purchase directly from a farm, ask your distributor what local products they can provide
- Have detailed information about your operation, including product volumes and delivery requirements
- Work with the Massachusetts Farm to School Project to connect with a farm and start buying local!
Ready to Take the Next Step with Local Foods Purchasing?
Contact us to get started:
In Central & Western Massachusetts
Farm to Cafeteria Coordinator
In Eastern Massachusetts
Farm to Cafeteria Director
Massachusetts Farm Directory
This directory was created to make it easier for you to access local farm products. The directory lists farms in Massachusetts that have expressed an interest in selling to institutions. View the full directory online
Local Sourcing Through Your Distributor
Tips on how to request locally grown foods through a distributor, including how to build local products into your bids or RFPs and how to ensure product traceability. Download this guide
Local Foods Procurement Worksheet
A tool to help you prepare for conversations with a farmer or distributor. View and Download
Farm to School Legislation
Did you know that in 2010 the Massachusetts state legislature passed a law making it easier for public schools to purchase directly from local agricultural producers? View the summary to see how it can support your local purchasing efforts. Download a summary of the law
Massachusetts Farm to School Cookbook
This cookbook, developed with input from school food service professionals throughout the state, features winning recipes that highlight locally grown products perfect for use in school cafeterias. The cookbook includes:
- 45 easy-to-follow recipes using Massachusetts crops, including value added produce such as peeled butternut squash and sliced carrots
- Recipes that have been school tested by food service directors, cooks, and students in the schools themselves and designed for 50 to 100 servings
- Nutritional analysis for each recipe
- Contacts for accessing farm produce
- Kid favorites such as Brown Rice Pilaf with Carrots, Chinese Green Beans, Tropical Cole Slaw, and Garlic Mashed New Potatoes
View successful recipes developed and tested by Massachusetts food service directors that utilize widely available local grown foods.
See how Massachusetts schools are developing menus to accommodate locally grown foods.
Grow, Cook, Teach – A Guide for Farm-To-School Activities
his booklet contains basic information about many programs and organizations that are defining and expanding the farm to school concept. Whether you are interested in learning about funding sources for school gardens, after-school cooking classes showcasing local produce, or ways to teach students about what’s growing on the farm in May, you’ll find useful references here!
Use posters to help spread the word about your local foods program to students, parents, and staff.
- Local Foods Seasonal Availability Chart
- 10 Good Reasons to Serve Local Foods Poster
- Locally Grown Food Served Here Poster
- Local Food is Good Food Poster
- Harvest Week Poster
Materials Order Form
To request promotional materials, please download and complete the Materials Order Form. Directions for submitting the request are at the bottom of the form. View and Download
- Sample Press Release - use this template to write a press release related to your local foods program
- Fruit and Vegetable Stickers
- Tent Cards
- Farmer Trading Cards